This Week in the News (July 7, 2017)

Turkey’s EU accession in jeopardy

This week, the European Union’s concerns about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s growing powers were taken to a new level, when the European Parliament, according to Reuters, called for Turkey’s EU accession talks to be suspended. This decision comes a year after a failed military coup tried to oust Erdoğan, which triggered a plan to expand the latter’s powers, now being publicly criticized by both Member State representatives and Members of the EP.

It is not that Turkey ever really had a real chance of being a full fledged Member State – whether that would be desirable or otherwise – but this kind of public statement certainly contributes to widen the already existing gap between the EU and Turkey. We’ll see how long the refugee agreement between the two lasts, and if Turkey acts on its threats to terminate the deal.

In other news, Trump’s back in Europe

That itself has triggered a number of articles and essays. Starting with his visit to Poland – which is certainly not random nor bereft of strategic interests – as the Washington Post points out, since a warm welcome is expected in a country that has been in Germany’s shade and that now has a conservative government in office. The New Yorker argues that Trump isn’t necessarily creating division in Europe, but rather taking advantage of existing divisions – as one would expect.

On the other hand, expectations are kind of high regarding Trump’s visit to Germany for G20 and NATO meetings today and tomorrow. I only say they are “kind of” high due to the office Trump represents. Because if it were just for him and his individual preferences, the European Union and all other important US alliances would be discarded. Also his visit in May was all about awkward body language and – as The Guardian put it – a “patchy understanding of the bloc“.

A busy G20 Summit

Trump and Putin did manage to meet (and vigorously shake hands) at the G20 meetingTrump’s brief meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was also highly anticipated – especially after uttering some interesting remarks vis-à-vis Russia’s aggressive border policies and its role in Syria – even though he refused to point the proverbial finger straight at Russia (‘”I won’t be specific”, he said), lest there be negative consequences for the “Trumptin” bromance.

The summit’s trade talks have been negatively marked by Trump’s “America First” motto, as Jean Claude Juncker’s readiness for battle has shown (and not just with the US, as it seems). According to the Wall Street Journal, “world powers respond to President Trump’s ‘America First’ policies“. Japan, for example, is doing so by striking a new trade deal with the EU. Also China is looking for more and better deals with Europe. (By the way, my money is on Xi Jinping, as China gets closer to becoming a leader in the fight against climate change).

Other news concerning the summit have been about a  protest against capitalism and globalisation that has escalated into violence, as over 159 police officers have been reported injured, and 45 protesters arrested, according to Al Jazeera. News keep appearing about the evolution of the protest, as Wednesday’s zombie protesters have turned into cars being set on fire.

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Inês Marques Ribeiro

Researcher at CEI-IUL. Editorial Assistant at PJSS. Guest Assistant Professor at ISCTE-IUL. PhD in History, Defence and IR (ISCTE-IUL); M.A. in European Political and Administrative Studies (College of Europe).

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